Spring is a great time to roll up your sleeves and tackle some home maintenance projects. What better place to start than your home’s roof? The winter months can take a toll on the materials and structural integrity of your roof. Proper maintenance can extend your roof’s overall lifespan, as well as protect the other investments you keep within your home.
When the South Carolina spring brings warm temperatures, it’s a great time to inspect your home’s roof to be sure it’s in tip-top shape. Homeowners can perform their own roof inspections, provided they know what they’re looking for. Here, we offer 10 crucial tips for spring roof maintenance.
1. Start with the Attic
Before you head outside, head up to the attic. You shouldn’t be able to see any sunlight entering from outside. If you do, that means you have holes in your roof that will need to be patched, otherwise, you can expect to experience water leakage during the next rainfall.
That’s assuming you don’t already have water in your attic! If you notice any leaks from the roof in your attic, that’s another obvious sign of damage that will need to be repaired.
Additionally, if you notice any insulation missing, now would be a great time to replace or repair it to ensure your home maintains its energy-efficiency in the summer heat, as well as prepare your roof to keep the cold out the following winter.
2. Document Any Damage You See
Once you leave the attic, you’ll need to take a look at the roof itself. Always exercise caution when approaching your roof, and never take any unnecessary risks when performing a roof inspection.
If you see any damage to your roof, be sure to document it by noting the date, location, and size of the affected area. A picture is always worth a thousand words, so taking some pictures can be invaluable. Documenting the damage can help you later when trying to explain your roofing problems to a trusted expert or your homeowner’s insurance company. Documenting the damage also helps determine a reliable estimate for any roof repair services that may be needed.
3. Check for Mold or Algae Damage
Once outside, take a good look at the condition of your roof. Do you see any dark streaks or stains? If so, this is a possible sign of algae growth or mold. This growth can actually become quite serious, as it can lead to moisture damage to your roofing materials, and corrosion to any metal fasteners.
There are some DIY solutions to eliminating this growth on your roof, but you may want to contact a team of professional roofers for input before you begin applying any harsh chemicals to your roof’s surfaces.
Even moss can inflict a surprising amount of damage when growing on a roof. If you see green patches of moss on your shingles, you can treat it by sprinkling zinc sulphate granules on the affected area. You can also sprinkle zinc sulfate over the surface of your roof once per year as a preventive measure.
4. Inspect and Replace Shingles as Needed
Take a good look at the shingles covering your roof. You can evaluate their overall condition by asking the following questions:
Are Any of My Shingles Missing?
Shingles can be torn away from high winds and other extreme weather. Document the missing patches on your roof, as these will need to be replaced later.
Are My Shingles Losing Their Granules?
The granules that cover your shingles give your roof its weather-resistant properties. When these granules are worn away, your roof loses its water resistance, and the shingles need to be replaced. Here’s a tip: if you notice that the granules are accumulating in your gutters, it might be a sign that one or more of your shingles will need to be replaced.
Are Any Shingles Starting to Curl?
Shingles may curl at the edges after experiencing water or wind damage. Replace these damaged shingles as soon as possible, as moisture damage can particularly spawn harmful molds and mildews that can further damage your roofing materials.
5. Clean Those Gutters!
Proper gutter installation is key to keeping water and debris from damaging the integrity of your roof.
After the winter months, your gutters may be clogged with leaves and other debris. Be sure to clean them out before the rainy season, as clogged gutters can cause water to overflow down the side of your house, resulting in moisture damage and even flooded basements. Additionally, clean gutters help your roof channel water and moisture away from your roof’s shingles, ensuring that your roof’s weather-resistance properties are functioning as intended.
If you’re concerned at all about damaging your gutters, most hardware stores carry a product called a “gutter scoop” that can help you avoid denting the material of your gutters. Additionally, you can perform basic gutter repair by sealing holes with caulk.
If your gutters are in particularly poor condition, you might consider hiring a professional roofing service with assistance in gutter repair or new gutter installation. This is obviously a cheaper alternative to total roof replacement, and can vastly improve the total lifespan of your roof.
6. Inspect and Repair Your Flashing
Your roof likely has “flashing,” which are metal sheets that direct water away from the intersections and joints of your roof. This flashing is sealed with caulk, but over time this caulk can deteriorate—which allows water to get in. Check your flashing for gaps, and fill them in with caulk to preserve the water-resistant properties of your roof. If your flashing needs to be replaced, you may wish to contact a roofing contractor who can ensure you get the size and fit you need to securely attach to your roof.
7. Seal Cracks Caused by Nails or Screws
Your roof may also be showing gaps caused by the metal fasteners that hold your roofing materials in place. Extreme temperatures can cause the holes caused by metal nails and screws to expand and contract, which can leave cracks, holes, and other gaps that compromise the integrity of your roof’s surface. These gaps will have to be filled in with caulk or liquid rubber. Don’t get discouraged if this takes several “passes” to seal every crack. You may need to return to your attic periodically to check for more areas where sunlight is seeping in, then sealing this crack from the outside.
8. Trim Nearby Trees and Shrubbery
You may have already had to clear leaves and twigs from your roof before you even started this process. While some debris can blow in from anywhere, you want to ensure that any nearby trees or bushes aren’t interfering with your roof. Falling branches can damage your shingles, gutters, skylights, and just about any other surface of your roof. The spring and summer months can bring wind and electrical storms that increase the likelihood of a tree branch causing major damage.
Protect your roof by trimming away branches and leaves that hang over or near your roof. If you find yourself faced with a branch that’s too large to comfortably trim yourself, contact a local roofing expert. Some insurance companies won’t cover property damage you cause yourself, so having the job handled by a professional is necessary.
9. Schedule a Yearly Roofing Inspection
Of course, there’s no substitute for the expert-level care of a team of roofing experts. Professional roof inspections can ensure that your roof is in tip-top shape, and ready for the spring and summer months that lie ahead. Check with your homeowner’s insurance; you may be entitled to reimbursement for your inspection, or receive a discount if you use their preferred roofing company. The roofers who perform your inspection are then more easily equipped to perform any roof repair you need. Schedule your inspection for the off season, and you can ensure you’re ready before spring and summer roll around.
10. Consider a Total Roof Replacement
This might sound extreme, but in some cases it can be necessary. If you have an older home, your roof may not be as well-maintained as it needs to be to fully protect your home and your family. Additionally, if you’ve experienced roofing damage as a result of a winter storm, you may find that total roof replacement can be more cost-efficient than trying to perform a multi-point repair job.
Here’s a tip: If you don’t know the age of your roof, look to your neighbors. Houses in the same neighborhood tend to be built at the same time, so your roof is likely the same age as others in your community. If you notice your neighbors replacing their roof, it might signal that it’s time to replace yours as well.
What Can I Expect from Roofers Near Me?
During the course of your spring roof maintenance, you may uncover a problem that requires a professional opinion. The professional service contractors at Beemer Kanga Roof are the area’s trusted source for roofing needs. Contact us for a free quote, and let us help you protect your roof and everything under it.